New healthcare partnership in Orange County

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

IRVINE (CNS) – UC Irvine Health and MemorialCare Health System announced a partnership today that officials said would offer a full network of health-care services in Orange County.

The University of California Board of Regents approved the partnership that will lead to the opening of “state-of-the-art primary care health centers,” officials said.

In August of last year, St. Joseph Health and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian announced a similar partnership to expand health services to under- served communities. The affiliation drew criticism from abortion-rights supporters when Hoag stopped offering elective abortions at the hospital.

Officials with the UCI and MemorialCare partnership said their partnership is less of a merger than the Hoag and St. Joseph team-up, and stressed that UCI and MemorialCare will remain independent health-care providers.

UCI is a teaching hospital which also engages in clinical research, while MemorialCare is described as an “integrated delivery system,” with six hospitals and more than 200 care centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

UCI and MemorialCare officials said the partnership is unique because it is the only one of its kind in Orange and southern Los Angeles counties that provides “the entire continuum of care,” from teaching and research hospitals and a children’s hospital to ambulatory surgery centers and urgent-care facilities.

“This affiliation demonstrates a steadfast commitment to integrated delivery of patient care, which is essential to providing excellent quality care while reducing costs to consumers, businesses and insurers,” said Barry Arbuckle, president and chief executive of MemorialCare Health System. “All communities we serve will benefit from the affiliation of our not-for-profit, mission-driven systems, both with excellent reputations and strong financial performance.”

Terry Belmont, chief executive of UC Irvine Medical Center, added, “Together, we will fulfill our joint mission of providing exceptional, personalized care that is driven by research with the latest and most advanced technologies and techniques available that promote better health and healing. This is driven by a shared passion for innovation, grounded in the most advanced medical and scientific knowledge.”

The partnership will help both more fully combine their advanced electronic medical records to better coordinate care of patients and access to their medical backgrounds, officials said.

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